Community-building

Don’t Waste Durham engages the community to seek sustainable alternatives to plastic and Styrofoam

By Celia McRae and Natasha Townsend

Between 2010-2011, Crystal Dreisbach wrote 200 letters to businesses throughout the Triangle. Her mission toward a more sustainable Durham was just beginning. The restaurants Dreisbach wrote to used Styrofoam, and she wanted to talk to distributors about sustainable alternatives, she said. She was working in public health research at the time, and Styrofoam takeout containers […]

Read more

Foster dogs find forever homes with Durham nonprofit

By Johnny Sobczak

The sun shines down on the picturesque spring afternoon of April 6 at Durham’s Bull City Ciderworks, and Independent Animal Rescue (IAR) is gathering nine of its foster dogs for its latest adoption event. The outdoor space includes a deck and large grassy area. Dozens of Durham residents are spread out across picnic tables, donning […]

Read more

Black Issues Forum revives discussion on Durham’s black-owned businesses

By Samantha Perry and Sabrina Berndt

Although the 22nd annual Full Frame Documentary Film Festival has come to an end, UNC-TV will continue highlighting the work of award-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson throughout the month. On Tuesday, April 23, UNC-TV will premiere Nelson’s most recent documentary, “Boss: The Black Experience in Business.” The film touches on rarely discussed stories of black entrepreneurship […]

Read more

ECWA aims to conserve Durham’s creeks, reverse century of water mismanagement

By Diane Adame

March 27, 2019

As a 9-year-old, Kriddie Whitmore took a field trip to Ellerbe Creek that sparked her interest in preserving and removing invasive plants. She often relives this fond memory by preserving areas near her childhood home as a nature preserve steward with the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association (ECWA). “It’s a very volunteer-centered organization, and they always […]

Read more

Filmmakers highlight emotional struggles faced by immigrants

By Samantha Perry

When Grace Beeler began teaching English as a second language, she was shocked by the stories refugees had to share. “If everyday Americans could hear the stories that I hear at work they would have a lot more compassion for refugees,” Beeler said. “They would understand why they need to come here, why we should […]

Read more

24th annual Great Human Race raises funds and awareness for Triangle nonprofits

By Johnny Sobczak

It’s the crisp Saturday morning of March 23, and nonprofit groups are slowly setting up tables on the sidewalk outside of the Durham Bulls Athletic Park for the 24th annual Great Human Race, hosted by the Triangle Nonprofit & Volunteer Leadership Center (TNVLC). Many of the tables are covered in posters, pamphlets and brochures to […]

Read more

Durham’s Communities in Schools helps students in class and at home

By Natasha Townsend

Carmen Settles remembers the first time she learned that going to college after high school wasn’t for everyone. She could venture out on her own path and be successful. Although she graduated from North Carolina Central University with a marketing degree, Settles owes her success to Communities in Schools (CIS), a nonprofit that focuses on […]

Read more

Durham students, teachers focus on equity with help from DPS grants

By Celia McRae

    Erin Batten-Hicks finally found the community she had been missing when she transferred to Hillside High School and joined the school’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA). “I never really had an opportunity to find more queer people and find that community while I was at my other school,” she said. “When I came […]

Read more

Commentary: Reconsidering our place in extractive journalism

By Courtney Staton

  Earlier this month, as part of the NeXt Doc Fellows, a fellowship which promotes 20 to 24-year-olds identified as the next generation of documentary filmmakers, I attended the True/False Documentary Film Festival in Columbia, Missouri. I watched “The Commons,” a film about the protests surrounding the Silent Sam statue and the Pit. I watched […]

Read more

DIG program empowers youth through urban farming

By Hannah McClellan

February 28, 2019

On a cold and rainy February afternoon, 17-year-olds Samantha Vazquee and Demonte Bolden are not hiding inside – they’re hard at work repotting dozens of plants after a day at school. Vazquee and Bolden are two youth members of the DIG program, a youth-driven, urban farming and leadership development program started by South Eastern Efforts Developing Sustainable […]

Read more

‘We’ve always been taking steps foward’: LCCU continues to grow

By Diane Adame and Veronica Correa

February 27, 2019

After nearly 20 years, the Latino Community Credit Union continues to do more than provide North Carolina’s Latino community with a safe place to store their earnings. A credit union founded in Durham in 2000, LCCU works to educate and empower all communities by offering a financial education program and savings, checking, loans and credit […]

Read more

Hillside’s new English teacher helps keep school paper alive

By Johnny Sobczak

When Jenne Mondry was interviewed for a position teaching English at Hillside High School last summer, it was proposed to her that she teach journalism and take over the school’s newspaper. For Mondry, it was daunting. “I let them know that I had not done that before, but I had done the yearbook at a […]

Read more

Range of DPS programs encourages families to ‘say yes’ to public schools

By Celia McRae

Informational booths from different Durham Public Schools departments lined the walls of the Hillside High School lobby last Saturday. Parents and students could ask questions about program offerings at these booths, as part of a fair called “Say Yes to DPS.” “We really wanted to be able to showcase them and to be able to put a […]

Read more

‘As an Act of Protest’ battles racism on screen at Durham’s Shadowbox Studio

By Hannah Towey and John Bauman

Filmmaker Dennis Leroy Kangalee had set out to create a masterpiece. Less than one year after his debut film, “As an Act of Protest” was released, Kangalee sent that masterpiece flying off the balcony of a hotel in Germany. Kangalee’s independent film is a 144-minute-long drama whose unedited, anti-Hollywood aesthetic and emotionally raw acting seek […]

Read more

John Gattis’ hit musical ‘Swing School’ returns to Hillside High

By Will Shropshire

After 47 years, “Swing School,” a community favorite production for many decades, returned to the stage at Hillside High School. The Hillside High School Drama Department – under the direction of Wendell Tabb –  put on four performances of its new adaptation, called “Hallelujah! Swing School,”  from Feb. 15-17. The production has long been a Hillside […]

Read more

Durham LGBTQ Center provides free clothing to trans, gender-nonconforming

By Sabrina Berndt

Every third Saturday of the month, transgender and gender-nonconforming people in the Research Triangle gather at the LGBTQ Center of Durham – located at 114 Hunt Street – for its closet event, a chance for attendees to browse free clothing without fear of judgment, according to coordinators and attendees. The event began in August 2016 when the Center was […]

Read more

Teens hoop it up at Holton

By Heaven Gullate

February 23, 2019

  Lamont Liles runs around the gym with the type of excitement a teenager should have. He is comfortable, happy, and without a care in the world as he plays basketball to pass the time until his mother comes home from work. Northeast Central Durham’s Holton Career & Resource Center, located at 400 N. Driver […]

Read more

Durham’s black community shines at Black History Month parade and party

By Johnny Sobczak

February 13, 2019

  On an unseasonably warm Saturday morning, Fayetteville Street was even busier than normal as hundreds of Durham residents showed up for the 17th Annual North Carolina MLK Black History Month Parade & Block Party. The event, presented by Spectacular Magazine, is held on the first Saturday of every February. For entertainment columnist Tameka Nichole, […]

Read more

Playwright grapples with growing up while black in ‘The Talk’

By Diane Adame

A black playwright has turned his personal experience into the play, “The Talk,” through dramatizing a difficult conversation he had with his son about the racialization of America. Sonny Kelly, a UNC-Chapel Hill doctoral candidate and performer in “The Talk,” wrote the play in 2015 after explaining the 2015 Baltimore protests to his then 7-year-old […]

Read more

Students develop skills for the salon and beyond

By Elisabeth Beauchamp

The Holton Career & Resource Center’s cosmetology program is not just a place for students to practice doing hair and using tools; it’s a place to refine skills that will shape their futures.  The classes not only teach conceptual material about the art of cosmetology, but they also give pupils hands-on experience with mannequins and […]

Read more

How longtime filmmaker Lana Garland saved the Hayti Heritage Film Festival

By Jack Frederick

Longtime writer, producer, director and now-Durham resident Lana Garland fell into filmmaking because a movie spoke to her. Literally.  In 1989, Garland bought a ticket to see Spike Lee’s film “Do the Right Thing,” the iconic movie she says was “revolutionary” for the budding black film industry. In the film, she was moved by a […]

Read more

Durham nonprofit redefines “teen mom”

By Hannah Towey

Angel Hope’s first day of class at Hillside High School, a significant event in any teenager’s life, was supposed to be Aug. 27, 2015. But the day would soon prove to be even more important as she gave birth to her daughter, Gabrielle, at the age of 15. Four first days of school and three […]

Read more

Amid housing crisis, Housing for New Hope ends homelessness one person at a time

By Hannah McClellan

According to the 2017 Annual Homeless Assessment Report, about 1,200 homeless people are living in shelters or transitional housing in Durham. Robin, who asked to keep her last name anonymous to protect her children’s identity,  is one of them. Robin, a veteran and National Guardsman, is staying at a shelter in Durham with her three […]

Read more

Mount Vernon Baptist Church honors Black History Month with free events

By Spencer Carney and Veronica Correa

This Black History Month, Mount Vernon Baptist Church on Roxboro Street in Durham will acknowledge the past with films, books and faith. The Durham church will have free film screenings every Wednesday in February at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday morning discussions at 9:30 a.m. It hosted a conversation on the autobiography “Proud Shoes: The Story […]

Read more

Dream Big Book Drive aims to improve literacy on MLK Day

By Natasha Townsend and Arianna Swain

January 30, 2019

Marneshia Gonzales’ “Nancy Drew” books were being boxed up at the Book Harvest Dream Big Book Drive. They were her childhood favorites, and she wanted to share them. The 12-year-old, who is in sixth grade, was giving books away with her mother, Deidre Gonzales, at the eighth-annual book drive on Jan. 21, Martin Luther King […]

Read more

Nonprofit YouthBuild graduates celebrate second book publishing

By John Bauman

Donna Bennett rose, bravely, to share her story. Her truth. “Good afternoon, my name is Donna Bennett. I will be reading a piece I wrote,” she said. “Number one in your life’s blueprint should be a deep belief in your own dignity, your own self-worth and your own somebodiness. Having a deep belief in yourself […]

Read more

Rev. Dr. Herndon honored with two lifetime service awards

By Hannah McClellan

Few people can claim the honor of receiving a lifetime service award, but the Rev. Warren L. Herndon of Durham was awarded two on the same day. Both awards were presented on Martin Luther King Jr. Day to celebrate Herndon’s more than 30 years of leadership in civil rights history, community service and social justice […]

Read more

Habitat for Humanity works to offset gentrification in Durham

By Hannah Towey

The Habitat for Humanity building site on the corner of Dowd Street and North Elizabeth Street felt surprisingly quiet for an active construction zone. Not for lack of activity — three volunteers along with the site supervisor were busy building a sizable shed in the backyard of the soon-to-be home of five. But between the […]

Read more

Bull city prepares for Phoenix Fest 2018

By Deja Finch

September 24, 2018

  The fall season may be in full swing as Durham prepares for its 17th annual Phoenix Fest. Held at 908 Fayetteville Street, the free public festival will be on  Saturday, Oct. 6 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. This year’s theme “Come Early, Stay Late”  encourages visitors to participate in numerous activities and enjoy […]

Read more

An after-school success program: a look into the Boys and Girls Club

By Wade McCreary

September 10, 2018

  The Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club on Alston Avenue in Durham has been serving the community since 1933, and since then, the program has contributed to major accomplishments for local children. The programs at the club have helped the children reach their full potential effectively. The goal of the Boys and Girls Club […]

Read more

The Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People: Ignited by legacy

By Jennifer Maxwell

  The Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People continued its legacy celebrating the eighty-third Annual Founders’ Day Gala at the Durham Convention Center on Aug. 25, honoring local community members who demonstrate black excellence. The mission of the DCABP, according to a statement from Chairman Omar S. Beasley, is to promote the welfare […]

Read more

Community Field Day fosters support for Middle Eastern refugees in Durham

By Ramishah Maruf

April 17, 2018

Sixth-grader Sedra Khatib cried on her first day at Lakewood Elementary School in Durham a year ago. “[The school] didn’t have a bus to go to home. And they asked me and I didn’t understand,” Sedra said. “They called my dad, and he said he will come. They had to use [Google Translate]. I was […]

Read more

Women’s Empowerment celebrates working women of color

By Tenley Garrett

April 16, 2018

  Hard work deserves recognition. But more than that, it deserves celebration. This year’s Women’s Empowerment VIP breakfast held at the Raleigh Renaissance Hotel on Saturday, April 14, provided the perfect platform for such festivities. The breakfast was set to begin at 8 a.m. in the Renaissance Hotel’s ballroom. The room was reserved exclusively for […]

Read more

The Scrap Exchange celebrates 27th birthday; Reuse Arts District grows

By Marissa O'Neill

April 11, 2018

  On Earth Day weekend, April 20-21, the Scrap Exchange will celebrate both its 27th birthday and the grand opening of its new store, Scrap Thrift. It will also host its second DIY (Do It Yourself) Fest for the Durham community. The Scrap Exchange, founded in 1991, bought its current space, a formerly abandoned church, […]

Read more

Civil servants honored by Durham Human Relations Commission

By Brennan Doherty

Serena Sebring has helped bail out 23 black women from the Durham County jail. U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield has taken a stand for Durham residents affected by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The organization Bull City 150 has been devoted to telling Durham’s history of inequity to better understand the city’s current state. The youth […]

Read more

A day with one of Durham’s Syrian refugee families

By Ramishah Maruf

Sixth-grader Sedra Khatib cried on her first day at Lakewood Elementary School in Durham last year. “[The school] didn’t have a bus to go to home. And they asked me, and I didn’t understand,” Sedra said.  “They called my dad and they call him and he said he will come. They had to use [Google […]

Read more

PYO students spend a day in the life of UNC-Chapel Hill students

By Maddie Marshall

It was late morning, and the sun was peeking from behind the clouds as the students and leaders of Partners for Youth Opportunity arrived at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. But the slightly overcast day did not stop them from a having an adventure. The PYO students and staff members were visiting […]

Read more

Durham’s 16th annual Women’s Forum celebrates persistence, fights discrimination

By Katie Rice

March 28, 2018

Durham does not forget that March is Women’s History Month. Every year, the city hosts a women’s panel and invites local women to speak on the year’s theme. This year, the theme of Women’s History Month is “Nevertheless, She Persisted: Honoring Women Who Fight All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.” The theme comes from the […]

Read more

Durham attorney serves community through law, advocacy

By Maddie Marshall

  There was a warmth in the room. It could have been from the sun shining through the window, or the warmth that came from a smile. Nisha G. Williams sat at the dining room table helping her 14-year-old son, Louis, with his homework and as she prepared for dinner.  Williams began her journey into […]

Read more

Durham’s battle with Confederate statues

By Ramishah Maruf

February 28, 2018

After protesters toppled a Durham Confederate statue in August, the city began the process to form a commission to find out exactly what to do with both the base of the statue and the remaining Confederate symbols. The committee, led by Wendy Jacobs, Durham County Board of Commissioners chair, and Mayor Steve Schewel, has two […]

Read more

Durham teens compete to perform at international slam poetry competition

By Ramishah Maruf

February 14, 2018

Durham School of the Arts sophomore Uche Nwogalanya strode up the small church stage. She took a deep breath, flipped her hair back and let the words flow out. “You are no monster, just a black boy,” Nwogalanya said. “To the son I may one day have.” Nwogalanya shared the stage with six other high […]

Read more

Creating recreation: how the Holton Center works

By Corin Hemphill

February 13, 2018

  The Holton Resource and Career Center is known for being a strong resource in Northeast Central Durham. But how do the staff at the center operate? The Recreation Assistant Supervisor comes to work with a task-oriented mentality and his staff is very devoted to helping the community. Jerome Johnson originally from Henderson has been […]

Read more

Take your community heart wherever you go

By Jock Lauterer

December 6, 2017

  Editor’s Note: Lu Xu is a 10-year veteran Chinese broadcast journalist who, for the last two years, has been studying communications at the UNC-CH School of Media and Journalism, where she is a visiting international scholar. In her final semester at Chapel Hill, she joined the MEJO 459 “Community Journalism” class and became a […]

Read more

Durham coming together to defeat inequality

By Taylor Mabrey

November 26, 2017

Durhamites came together last Wednesday at Calvary UMC for “Pushing Past Progressive: Ending Inequality in Durham” to discuss what is going on in the city. Representatives from five different organizations were there to speak on the issues at hand, and concerned community members were able to interact with them and hear about their projects. Matt […]

Read more

If you thought Joe Bushfan was done serving the community – think again

By Taylor Mabrey

November 9, 2017

“My dream was just to help folks less fortunate than myself,” Durham resident and catalyst Joe Bushfan said when talking about his efforts in his community. While Bushfan has been around Durham for a while now, he has no plan on stopping his efforts to help others. In 2020, he hopes to open a diner […]

Read more

Days before election, Ali and Schewel meet in one final forum

By Davis McKinney

November 6, 2017

Maybe game seven of the World Series drew the crowd away, or maybe Durham residents are just simply experiencing election fatigue. Either way, attendance was lower than expected last Wednesday for the final forum discussion of the mayoral race. With less than a week to Election Day, candidates Farad Ali and Steve Schewel participated in […]

Read more